I was a the grocery store this afternoon picking up a prescription (Gratuitous Complaint Warning: My pharmacy has an automated system that calls my house and leaves a message when my prescriptions are available.  This works great for the ones that get refilled automatically every month.  Today, I waited for my prescription at the pharmacy, and yet when I got home, there was a message telling me my prescription was ready, which was technically true, as I had walked in the door prescription in hand, but was largely unhelpful, and forced me to check my messages.)

No, wait, where was I?  Oh yeah, the grocery store.  So anyway, while I was waiting for my prescription, I walked around the store to see if there was anything that I didn’t need but would be inspired to buy anyway.  (Answer: sushi for lunch, bread, and pineapple chunks, but not Diet Mountain Dew, which I do need, and will have to go back for.)

Crap, I wandered off topic again.  Why do you people let me do this?

Again, back to the original point of the story.  I also stopped by the cheese area (more than a stand, less than a shoppe) where they were giving out samples of the cheese pictured above: Prairie Sunset (A Wisconsin Original Cheese).  The cheese was nothing special (basically a mild Cheddar), but the label particularly caught my eye.

I’m not a wine drinker, so I am generally amused at the random assortment of nouns, adjectives, and adverbs often misused to misidentify the characteristics of wine.  (Disclaimer: the correct terms are wetness, grapiness, alcohol content, and either reddish or off-white.)  This is the description for the #2 wine on Wine Spectator’s top 10 wines for 2015.

Polished, focused and generous, with red plum and cherry flavors in an elegant package, framed with fine tannins. A savory, meaty note runs through this at a subterranean level. Lingers beautifully. Drink now through 2028.

Non-wine spectators standing nearby described this wine as “wet, kinda grapey, vaguely alcoholic, and reddish”.

But I digress yet again. (Disclaimer: I’m getting closer to my point, I promise.)

The only cheese available for sampling was the one pictured above, which left me with plenty of time to peruse the label.

Prairie Sunset

Sweet, approachable flavor with hints of nuttiness and butterscotch.

A Wisconsin Original Cheese

Observation #1: I did not realize Wisconsin had prairies.  I in fact did not realize that Wisconsin had any geography whatsoever.  I tried to picture Wisconsin, and all I got was the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, so I just assumed the tundra extended to the Iowa border.  However, this is the first line from the Environmental Education for Kids (EEK!) website on the subject of “Wisconsin Prairies”:

Historically, wildfires played a very important role in shaping prairies.

(Disclaimer: The acronym EEK! is actually in the title of the website.  This is appropriate given the sort of pro-wildfire propaganda the website spews.)

Observation #2: The second line is not a sentence, and should not end with a period.  I’d let this slide if it weren’t for the contents of the second line.

Observation #3: While I wouldn’t exactly describe the flavor as “sweet”, I did find this cheese very approachable.  You can tell from the picture just how close I was able to approach the Prairie Sunset.  I would have been pretty much right up in its face if the cheese had a face, which it didn’t.  (Disclaimer: Much like wine, cheese has a limited set of characteristics: roundness, hardness, orangeness, and cheddariness.  This cheese was unround, medium hard, very orange, and pretty cheddary.  There was no faciness whatsoever.)

Observation #4: The print below “A Wisconsin Original Cheese” was beyond my ability to see clearly.  (Disclaimer: It was also apparently beyond my ability to photograph clearly, unless maybe the print is just blurry as a ploy to thwart observers such as myself.)  As a result,  it only seems reasonable that this must be the section where the “hints of nuttiness and butterscotch” may be found.  I imagine the small print contains the following incomplete information allowing the customer to draw his or her own conclusions:

  • 7-Across (9 letters): Attribute closely associated with the man on the left, star of the 1963 film “The Nutty Professor”, but not the man on the right, star of the 1996 film “The Not-At-All Nutty but Extremely Fat Professor”
  • 14-Down (12 letters): Flavoring taking its name from a dairy product and a type of alcohol, but containing neither, used primarily but erroneously as a flavoring for things that would taste much better with a different flavoring

Neither attribute is even remotely related to either cheese or prairies, or even sunsets for that matter.

Observation #5: The term “An Original Wisconsin Cheese” is ambiguous.  I am not sure whether this cheese is:

  • A cheese nobody else in Wisconsin had thought of previously.
  • One of the first cheeses developed in 1848 after the state of Wisconsin was accepted into the Union
  • One of the indigenous cheeses of the cheese-loving Wisconsinsonian tribes discovered by English and French colonists prior to 1848.
  • An artifact found in the ruins of an early Homo cheeseheadus village
  • A natural feature formed when Wisconsin separated from Gondwanaland

Observation #6: Clearly I don’t have enough to occupy my mind.  (Disclaimer: not a new observation.)

Condiment conundrum

Have you ever gone to the grocery store for just ketchup, and walked out with green beans, carrots, asparagus, fruit cocktail, a prescription refill, and no ketchup?

Have you ever gone back to the grocery store an hour later to get ketchup, and walked out with Parmesan cheese, trail mix, and no ketchup?

You can help.

Please give to the American Ketchup Amnesia Society.

Because a hamburger is a terrible thing to garnish with fruit cocktail and trail mix.

We are all individuals, aren’t I?

This happened to me a couple years ago:

I’m at the grocery store, and I walk past this woman: late 20’s, long blonde hair, black coat, very pretty. We’re shopping in different directions, so a couple minutes later I pass her again, and I think to myself, “Wow, she’s really beautiful – much softer facial features, not as old as I first thought.” A couple minutes later I pass her again and thought, “Either my memory or my eyesight is going — she’s beautiful, but no way she’s under 35!”

As I leave the store, there are three blonde women in black coats checking out at three different registers, and yet I saw them as one shape-shifter. I don’t know if I’m relieved or disappointed.  Sure, shapechangers are cool, but the incidence of three unrelated hot blondes in a sample size of one evening grocery store trip just says something really good about the world we live in.